Family justice review considers children's panels

Neil Puffett
Monday, January 24, 2011

Radical options such as the introduction of Scottish-style children's panels are being considered as part of the family justice review, CYP Now can reveal.

David Norgrove, who is chairing the review, is examining how the system can be reformed to better support children and parents.

He told CYP Now that one model being discussed is children's panels, which are used in Scotland and involve highly trained volunteers deciding whether compulsory measures of supervision are needed for a child.

"There are radical options [for reform] through to less radical options around how cases are managed and what the role of the judiciary is," Norgrove said. "We haven't made any decisions yet."

Jon Fayle, chair of the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers, said he supports the idea being explored.

"I would welcome any move away from the adversarial nature of care proceedings to a more inquisitorial system where there would be less emphasis on blame and more emphasis on finding jointly agreed solutions," he said.

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